Mercy before Judgment:
Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue
"We have to put mercy before judgment... Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved." Pope Francis, Dec. 8, 2015.
Here are a few controversial propositions
Ecumenism should begin with the acceptance of all churches (and church communities) as valid but partial expressions of the Gospel message: no church can claim to have the sole and total monopoly of the infinite richness of the gospel.
The present generation of believers is not responsible for the past errors of their churches. They still benefit from the infinite mercy and richness of the Good News.
The churches with no sacraments and no ordained hierarchy often seem to benefit more than sacramental churches from the infinite richness of the Word.
God does not discriminate by race, sex and doctrine, but most churches discriminate by doctrine, some by doctrine and sex, and most churches discriminated by race in the past. In the Universal Church of Christ there should be no discrimination by doctrine (and neither by sex and race).
The Universal Church of Jesus Christ is one of mutual respect and unity in love, faith in God, and self-giving, not necessarily one of common doctrines in a common world organization
The Kingdom of God is greater than any church. For the Kingdom to grow, the churches have to learn from one another and combine their strengths rather than compete for supremacy.
These propositions differ from official Catholic teachings but in our digital age conscience is primary and church authority is secondary. How the church can adapt to this situation is a difficult question, but it cannot be avoided. "No religion" is the fastest growing and evangelical identity the second fastest growing religious category in the U.S., and with time this trend is likely to increase. Ecumenism at the grassroots level is outpacing ecumenism at the top.